Budget

DARPA director warns against 'corrosion' of sequestration

Arati Prabhakar

DARPA Director Arati Prabhakarour told lawmakers that sequestration cuts threaten "our ability to do our mission."

In urging Congress not to revert to sequester-level spending, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Director Arati Prabhakar highlighted the impact of two of the agency's ongoing technology programs.

One program, known as Memex, develops software to enhance search-engine capabilities so users can map the online behavior of suspected adversaries. The Defense Department is using that program to understand linkages among Islamic State websites, Prabhakar told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on March 26.

Another program is meant to boost the Pentagon's ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum via new systems architectures, algorithms and manufacturing technologies, Prabhakar said.

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget request for DARPA is about $3 billion, an increase of $57 million over the amount enacted for fiscal 2015.

But a return to sequestration could be a setback for Prabhakar's research goals. Recruiting at the agency has been difficult in the "tumultuous environment" of sequestration, she told lawmakers.

"None of these specific cuts are the end of the world," Prabhakar added. "The problem is that they just continue this erosion, this corrosion of our ability to do our mission."

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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